When we talked about shoes that could change their color a few years ago, it was a huge hit, at least as far as interest goes. Until now, however, nobody is wearing smart shoes with epaper or other means to change their design. Would this be different if there is a major car manufacturer who announces their ideas about car paint that could change their color and patterns? The BMW Group did precisely this during the CES 2022 in Las Vegas yesterday. It’s the Kindle on wheels.
BMW is talking about a kind of paint that would consist of an E Ink that would allow the surface of the BMW iX Flow to change the color and pattern to reflect whatever their owner fancies at any point in time. Next to simply being a futuristic and cool feature, what use-cases could be realized based on such a technology? For instance, you could flash your car’s paint whenever you can’t easily find your vehicle in a parking area quickly.
“This gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of change outwardly, and to redefine this each time they sit into their car,” says Stella Clarke, Head of Project for the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink. “Similar to fashion or the status ads on social media channels, the vehicle then becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances in daily life.”
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If you’re a taxi driver, you could color the paint bright if you’re available and dark if you’re already occupied. Depending on how easily you could apply text or numbers in the future, you could label commercial vehicles more easily without applying decals or overpainting the cars whenever something changes. There are lots of ideas that can come to mind on how this could be used as soon as someone thinks about it.
Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development: “Digital experiences won’t just be limited to displays in the future. There will be more and more melding of the real and virtual. With the BMW iX Flow, we are bringing the car body to life.”
How does the BMW iX Flow paint work?
The color changes are enabled by a special body wrap consisting of millions of paint capsules that can be stimulated by electric signals. This type of innovation is based on electrophoretic technology, and it helps to achieve various color pigments that are then visible on the surface of the car. As there are many parts all over the car that can be adjusted independently even patterns and designs could be created.
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Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design says, “the BMW iX Flow is an advanced research and design project and a great example of the forward-thinking that BMW is known for.” If you want to consider energy consumption, there are also some potential savings here. In the summer, under the searing sun, you could turn the paint bright to absorb less heat into the car and therewith reduce the load on the air conditioning system. When it’s cold outside, you could use the black paint color to absorb more warmth and reduce how strong the heating system would need to work.
While it might seem like a fantastic idea as far as design possibilities go, it should also be clear that a driving chameleon might distract other drivers. So it would be good if the manufacturer added s security systems that restricted the design and pattern changes in a way so it could not permanently keep on changing patterns and colors as it’s driving down the road. One thing to notice, though, is that this type of technology can not display chromatic colors, but this might be another milestone they could surprise us with in the future.
If you want to see the BMW iX Flow in action make sure to watch the footage below along with some demonstrations and information from the team who worked on the prototype.
YouTube: BMW iX Flow Has Car Paint That Can Change Its Color [Footage + Info]
Photo credit: All media shown is owned by BMW Group and was provided as part of a press kit.
Source: BMW Group press release